Recumbent tricycles are 3-wheel bikes designed so the rider sits in a laid-back position. The reclined position is not only very comfortable but also reduces strain on your joints and back. As well, the three wheels add stability to reduce the risk of accidents or severe injuries from tip-overs. The wide seat is more ergonomically correct, so you have improved back and shoulder support. Instead of sitting upright, or stooping over the handlebars, you are comfortably reclined, allowing you to ride for hours without the discomforts of the common saddle-style seats on traditional two-wheeled, upright bikes.
All in all, you experience comfort in your entire body, from your hands, wrists and shoulders no longer clutching traditional handlebars, to your back and joints supported thanks to the reclined position. When you hear all the benefits of a recumbent trike it becomes easier to understand why these adult tricycles come with a higher price tag. Here we dive deeper into the benefits of a recumbent trike and why they are more expensive than traditional two-wheelers.
How Much Do Recumbent Trikes Actually Cost?
Recumbent tricycles range in price from $1500 to as much as $12 to $13K. There are several brands available offering different features including Catrike, ICE, TerraTrike, and Greenspeed. This provides options to suit most budgets. Considering it is an investment you will enjoy for years to come, you can see an excellent ROI on your trike. When looking at the average costs for a bike, you are looking at $350 to $700 for a road bike, about $400 for a single-speed bike and upwards of $1000 for a mountain bike.
A More Complex Design
The more complex the design of any product we buy, the more it costs to produce. A recumbent adult trike offers a state-of-the-art design that checks all the boxes for an enjoyable ride. The extra design features cost more to create and in turn more to manufacture. The experience for the end-user through the complex and ergonomic design improves comfort, safety, speed, duration of the ride, and overall enjoyment. As the saying goes you get what you pay for.
In the case of the recumbent tricycle, you just can’t compare the two-wheeled bike with the three-wheeled recumbent trike manufacturing process. For example, trikes require special machinery to bend the broad tubing, adding to production costs. There are also more materials required to produce the wider, more comfortable seat. Materials and equipment add up.
Adult trikes have customized parts that are far more costly than average, assembly-line upright two-wheeled bike parts. For example, the saddle seat costs an average of $5, compared to $200 for the custom seat of the adult trike. That’s a huge difference. The amount of chain required for a recumbent bike is two to three lengths more than a bike.
The chain has to reach the distance between the extended front wheels and back to propel the tires in their stretched-out position. Then there are the wheels themselves, with an additional wheel logically costing more than two. Custom steering is also required which costs more than the steering components of even higher-end bikes. Additional cable housing and tandem lengths are also used when manufacturing recumbent bikes.
Ergonomics and Balance
Although the style and added support speak to the unique design of the recumbent three-wheeler, the science behind the ergonomics also adds to the price. You just won’t find the comfort and support of the recumbent trike in any other kind of bike. If you suffer from back issues, it can keep you from staying active. The ergonomic design and added supports protect your back as well as your joints while you are out riding. These additional supports and design considerations come with a higher price tag because they require more thought, and more complex production costs as mentioned above.
Supply and Demand
It also boils down to good old-fashioned economics. Whenever supply is lower and demand is high, prices rise. Adult tricycles are still a niche market which means supply is lower. Along with the contributing factors adding to the costs of production, the prices remain high. However, as the population ages, and people seek healthier lifestyles demand is likely to grow. This means some manufacturers will find it viable to reduce costs as they buy materials in bulk to meet demand.
You can’t put a price tag on safety. The added balance alone is worth the investment for safer rides thanks to the two back wheels. The design of the trike creates a lower center of gravity than a bike, enhancing stability for improved confidence on the road or trail. You are also lower to the ground so even if you somehow manage to fall off the trike, or overturn it, you are less likely to suffer as serious an injury compared to an upright bike. Improved maneuverability also reduces the risk of accidents. The recumbent bike makes it easier to manage in higher traffic areas or even veer safely if something runs out in your path like a random squirrel.
The size of the recumbent adult trike is much larger than your average upright bike. As a result, it takes more packaging to ship the trike. Add to this the added weight of the trike and shipping costs begin to rise. Whether you’re ordering the bike online, or are purchasing it from a retailer, the prices reflect the markup to cover the additional shipping costs of the larger trike.
When you balance the benefits of a recumbent trike with the price, you’ll find it is worth the investment. For example, if you purchased an adult trike on the lower end, you could have it almost paid off in less than a year with payments of $100 a month. As with any purchase, you can invest in the trike that suits your budget and lifestyle, so you don’t break the bank.